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Karl Rove hits Ramaswamy for ‘over-the-top’ debate performance that was ‘robotic’

Republican strategist Karl Rove criticized conservative entrepreneur and GOP presidential hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy for his “over-the-top” and “robotic” performance at Wednesday night’s debate.

Rove told radio talk show host John Catsimatidis on WABC 770 AM’s “Cats Roundtable” on Sunday that Ramaswamy “on points had a good evening and on substance had a bad evening” at the first GOP primary debate in Milwaukee.

“Representative of that was his comment that everybody else on the stage was bought and paid for, which I thought was so over-the-top that it was representative of his mindset [of] ‘I’m the only perfect person on the stage,’” Rove said.

“And he was robotic, I thought,” the GOP strategist added. “Very energetic, high level of energy, big smile, talked very fast. But I think Chris Christie got off one of the better lines of the night that he sounded like ChatGPT.”

Ramaswamy was at the center of several of the night’s most contentious exchanges, including with former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Christie slammed the political newcomer as an “amateur” at one point, saying he’d “had enough already tonight of a guy who sounds like ChatGPT standing up here.” 

“The last person in one of these debates … who stood in the middle of the stage and said, ‘What is a skinny guy with an odd last name doing up here?’ was Barack Obama,” Christie added, referencing a line Ramaswamy had said earlier. “And I am afraid we are dealing with the same type of amateur standing on the stage tonight.”

Rove also told Catsimatidis in Sunday’s interview that he thought Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis “had a good night” at the debate.

“There are some people who did what they needed to do that night,” he said. “Ron DeSantis, I thought, had a good opening. He had a good closing. He did a good job of focusing on his ability to get things done, represented by his record in Florida. This was important for him to have a good night.”

Potential Republican voters who watched the debate on Wednesday night said DeSantis and Ramaswamy “performed best” out of the eight candidates who appeared on the debate stage, according to a Washington Post, Ipsos and FiveThirtyEight poll on Thursday.

While 29 percent said the Florida governor had the best performance, 26 percent said Ramaswamy came out on top.

Notably, former President Trump, the frontrunner in the race for the Republican nomination, was absent from Wednesday’s debate after deciding to sit for an interview with former Fox News host Tucker Carlson instead.

Tags 2024 GOP presidential primary 2024 presidential election Chris Christie GOP debate GOP debate John Catsimatidis Karl Rove Karl Rove ramaswamy Ron DeSantis Vivek Ramaswamy

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